Business Ventures in Second Life: Real Life $$$

5 08 2009

Yesterday I was privileged to attend a meeting in Second Life (SL) to hear perspectives from madddyyy Schnook, a real life (RL) entrepreneur “par excelence”.  His business ventures (and hard work) in SL have earned significant RL revenue over the past few years and he now works exclusively in SL.  madddyyy was a RL publisher with a background in telecommunications, marketing and sales who now writes/publishes books and designs sophisticated educational scenarios in SL for corporations around the world.  His SL projects have ranged from designing a simulation of computers to teach technicians PC repairs to medical simulations for healthcare providers in order to enhance patient/doctor/nurse interactions and the diagnosis of medical conditions, management of medications, lifestyle issues, etc.

madddyyy commented that RL businesses and organizations continue to “flock” to SL for RL business applications, particularly utilities that are testing “green” technologies, healthcare corporations (as noted above) and the military who are wanting to attract and retain Generation Y (millenials), test weapons systems/platforms, and simulate and train for battlefield conditions, etc.   SL for these organizations is all about creating interactive experiences that:

  • spur branched thinking and multi-path problem-solving,
  • engage the learner in an immersive environment that challenges “conventional” wisdom or stove-piped organizational thinking,
  • or challenge individuals to implement transformational (outside the corporate culture) leadership behaviors.

SL is already used successfully for conference and events and to increase “foot traffic” to RL websites for business transactions.  madddyyy predicted this trend will continue to grow exponentially.  However, he also sees new business opportunities for companies and organizations that are able to create the “surround” experience by implementing pre- and post-conference activities such as visits to museums and other places of historic and/or cultural interest, or group exploratory learning activities, etc.

madddyyy’s advice for getting people actively involved in SL is to remove all the “comfort zones” before guiding people outside their RL “comfort zones” so they can think and act “outside the box”.  This does not mean initially placing people in uncomfortable or totally unfamiliar environments.  Rather it means guiding and coaching people in SL through some “traditional” settings such as discussions around a conference room table before introducing new concepts and giving them the chance to assimilate over time into their new “world”.  Subsequently they will feel comfortable to experiment with the possibilities through a series of ongoing contextual discussions and skill-building exercises.

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